People have asked what I do with shells I find. Some of the things I've done with them can be found here. I have plans for many of them, when I get around to it. :) But mostly, I just enjoy looking at them.
After coming to Sanibel Island, on vacations for years, and now living here, I have gradually accumulated a lot of shells.
Walking on the beach, occasionally seeing a live shell is awesome, but looking down and seeing a perfect empty shell, is a special gift.
I have seen numerous shell piles and done my share of digging in them. :-) I can tell you that those experiences caused a lot of excitement and pleasure.
I want to share pictures of the shells I consider special and a sampling of what you can find here.
Why More Shells At Sanibel?
Sanibel and Captiva Islands are sometimes called 'The Shell Islands', not only because of the many shells that can be found here, but because these islands were formed from shells.
The islands of Sanibel and Captiva have some of the best shelling in the world. This is because of the geography. Sanibel lies east to west and is shaped like a scoop, which collects shells. The best explanation of why shells wash ashore here; I found in an article in the sanibel-captiva islander.
People come here, from all over the world, to walk the beaches looking for their idea of the perfect shells. Their constant bending over to sort through shells is such a common sight, that it has been named ‘The Sanibel Stoop’.
Frequent shellers all have their favorite gulf beach areas, and I have to admit that the West Gulf beaches are mine. I think our choices are not necessarily based on finding certain shells in any particular area; but on past luck.
I’ve been told that you can find more tiny shells on the Light House Beach, and I have found that to be pretty accurate. Actually I prefer that and the whole East Gulf and Middle Gulf area for small shells.
Another general rule is that the larger shells are found in progressively more abundance as you travel west from the middle gulf area to the northern tip of Captiva. That has not been my experience.
Some people think shelling is best at low tide, others on incoming or outgoing. I have done pretty well at times during either. Another good time is during new or full moons, when the tides are extremely low.
The best shelling luck I have had has been weather related; after gulf storms have pushed the shells onto our beaches.I can tell you for certain, that the best insurance you can have to find shells, is to go often and stay long. Consistency and perseverance is guaranteed to work. I have found shells in all areas of the islands.If you don’t live on the islands, try taking your vacations here at different times of year, watch the moon phases, tide charts, the weather and apply it all to your planning. The exact days can’t be predicted, but with persistence, sooner or later, you will hit some great shelling!
While shelling on Sanibel and Captiva, remember that collecting live shells is illegal. The State of Florida has defined a "Live shell" as any specimen containing an inhabitant. The law also protects live sand dollars, starfish and sea urchins. All shelling is prohibited in J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge.